St. Martin’s Lane / Sidewalks of London (1938)
“There ain’t no justice and there ain’t no logic; the world ain’t made that way.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Leigh’s character, on the other hand, is intentionally hard to sympathize with — though she redeems herself nicely by the end and is certainly no villain.
Refreshingly, Laughton’s romantic interest in Leigh only occurs after they’ve lived (platonically) and worked together for awhile; until then, he maintains appropriately paternal/brotherly affection for her. Fine period detail and stark cinematography make this tale visually appealing, but it’s only must-see for fans of Leigh or Laughton, or those interested in pre-WWII busking culture.
Note: The storyline has strong parallels with A Star is Born (1937), given Laughton’s “fall from [relative] grace” while Leigh’s star is rising.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
One thought on “St. Martin’s Lane / Sidewalks of London (1938)”
First viewing. Not must-see.
Kind of a so-so script & there isn’t much the leads can do to raise it to a workable level. Laughton tries hard, admirably but in vain; Harrison is mainly monotone; Leigh isn’t all that effective as a musical performer – and her character is on the insufferable side once she becomes a star. There’s a sudden, turnaround shift near the end that attempts to salvage everything. A bit tiresome, really – and it feels long when it’s just under 90 minutes.